These numbers are based on having every meal and snack at/from home BUT they are not based on everything being made from scratch, esp. the Thrifty Plan! So, they include purchased breads, box meals, canned soups, processed foods, etc.
The numbers are also based on the MyPyramid food standards for servings, food group distribution, etc. I'm guessing a lot of people here on MDC (me included) don't buy into the standard "American diet", which changes things considerably.
Most importantly, the price numbers for foods come from Nielson Homescan data (now NCP) and represent average costs people actually paid for food. Not everyone uses coupons, shops loss leaders, meal plans, etc. so that can make a huge difference.
All that said...right now we're sitting at about $320 a month for a family of 4: 2 adults, a 16mo, and a 6yo. This doesn't include a bulk beef purchase we'll be getting in a few weeks, or the hog we'll purchase in several months. Even averaging those out over the next year, I'd say we'll still be between thrifty and low-cost plans. We shop sales, use doubled/stacked coupons, meal plan, maintain a hefty pantry, and generally do whatever we can to keep costs down.
Course that explains why I thought our foodstamp benefits for so long were (IMO!) utterly ridiculous. (family of four, we got ~660ish dollars. A month. Now that DH is *FINALLY* working again its down to ~330ish. Which is bloody plenty!!)
We are far below the thrifty plan, and our groceries in the sticks are far pricier than in say... Indy or Lincoln!
We are now a fam of 4 and are $200-$300 below thrifty-- I co op shop and make a lot from scratch, but we do eat as much organic as we can find regardless of cost-- it's all about availability here.
When we were a fam of 7 in a major city, we spent almost exactly $500 per month, mostly organic, without the benefits of a grocery co op! My xh thought I grossly overspent, LOL!!!! Some months I stretched those groceries out for 2 months.
Oh-- this includes pet food and soap, shampoo, etc. I know the chart doesn't, but I budget all the grocery store purchase together.
Mom to 2 beautiful autistic boys (13 & 12)
We cook from scratch 99% of them time, with exception to buying pasta we boil, buying baggette and laoves of bread from the local bakery. I also buy deli meat for lunches at school. Maybe that is why we are in the low catagory. If we bought a lot of the packaged stuff, it would cost us lots more considering what the prices I see on these items.
I do buy some items such as canned soup etc, but mainly when it is on sale and when our local food pantry requests it. I do not count that in our food budget, but charity since it goes directly to the food pantry. Our church does a monthly collection and the week before they always say what they are low on- toothpaste, PB and Jelly, speggetti sauce, pasta. So I buy about $30 worth of whatever they are looking for plus some other items like pads, etc if someone needs it.
Student mama to Lyra June ( 10.24.09) and Olive Isis (12.12.11)
= Pariah, Super Mom + The Amazing Wiggy (1/06) + (6/08) 52 Projects: 0/52 Decluttering Challenge: 37/2013
Oh, and that includes toiletries/misc. so we're probably under $20-$30/week.
Also, when people combine their shopping/cooking etc. their total cost overall is less than if they are doing everything separately. I don't think it is accurate to say that a child spends this much and an adult spends this much, so if they are together they spend the total. There is some savings in sharing food. We spent a couple of years with my dh being gone all week and only coming home on weekends. He worked on an island and rented a house there during the week. During that time our family food expenses were astronomical. It cost a lot more for his food that was bought and prepared separately from the rest of the family then it did when everything is all together. Once he left that job and we were all eating together again our grocery bill dropped a lot.
Homeschooling mom to 4
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We're also in one of the highest COL areas in the US. So I'm sure that has something to do with it. I don't buy packaged or processed food, but I do buy organic fresh fruit in the winter, and I pay a premium price locally for ethical animal products.